Devon Air Ambulance

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Devon Air Ambulance helicopter G-DAAT, near Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor

The Devon Air Ambulance is an organisation providing emergency medical services through the provision of two helicopter air ambulances covering the county of Devon in the South West of England, United Kingdom.[1][2] The helicopters are owned and run by the Devon Air Ambulance Trust, which is a registered charity,[3] raising money from public donations in excess of £5.5m every year.[4][5]

Formation and history[edit]

Devon Air Ambulance Trust was formed by Ann Thomas, in memory of her son, 18-year-old Ceri Thomas, who was fatally injured in a road traffic collision in 1986.[4][6] At hospital, his mother learned that the quicker a patient receives hospital treatment, the greater that patient's chances of survival. Subsequently, she started a campaign to launch an air ambulance service for Devon.[6]

The service went into operation on 27 August 1992,[6] covering the entirety of the county of Devon, including the rural and inaccessible moors of Exmoor and Dartmoor.[7] The trust currently operates two helicopters[2] and can reach 50% of locations in Devon within 5 minutes of taking to the air, with remaining locations accessible within 20 minutes.[8]


The trust currently owns and operates two aircraft, both Eurocopter EC135T2 models, although of different model years, from two different airfields, in order to maximise coverage of the county. Both helicopters fly for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week.[8] From late Autumn 2016 the Exeter-based helicopter will fly into the hours of darkness, up to midnight, into one of a network of community night landing sites created across the county.

The Exeter-based helicopter is located along with the National Police Air Service helicopter at Exeter International Airport. The aircraft is registered G-DAAN, and was purchased in 2008 for around £3.3m.[8]

The North Devon-based helicopter is located at Eaglescott Airfield,[8] previously at Belle Vue Airfield,[9] near Great Torrington. A new Eurocopter EC135P2+ entered service flying out of Eaglescott in September 2013; it is registered G-DVAA and replaces G-DAAT.



The Trust's mission statement is: "To relieve sickness and injury in and around the county of Devon through provision of an emergency Air Ambulance service".[10][11] The trust provides air ambulance cover for the entire county, in association with the South Western Ambulance Service, who provide the paramedics that fly with the trust on secondment.[12][13]

The trust is proud of its independence and receives no funding from the government nor the National Lottery, relying on the generosity and goodwill of the community, businesses and friends of Devon. Voluntary donations and the business generated by its shops and society lottery helps to meet running costs of around £5.5 million per year.

Notable donations[edit]

Both of the helicopters bear the signature of television presenter and patron Jennie Bond who named the Trust as her chosen charity during her appearance in the show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!. The money raised enabled the Trust to buy a GPS moving map system for the first helicopter.[8]

BBC Radio Devon also ran a two-year appeal which raised the final £850,000 needed to buy a second owned aircraft (G-DAAN).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Devon's new angel of the skies". BBC News. August 2004.
  2. ^ a b "Devon to get two air ambulances". BBC News. 13 April 2005.
  3. ^ Charity Commission. Devon Air Ambulance Trust, registered charity no. 1077998.
  4. ^ a b "Charity buys £3.3m air ambulance". BBC News. 26 September 2008.
  5. ^ "Devon Air Ambulance - Working in the Snow". RotorHUB Magazine. 3 February 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
  6. ^ a b c "Devon Air Ambulance - The Trust". Devon Air Ambulance Trust. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
  7. ^ "Air Ambulance Coverage Map". Air Ambulance Association UK.
  8. ^ a b c d e "The Helicopters". Devon Air Ambulance Trust. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
  9. ^ "Air ambulance to move to new home". BBC. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Supported Charity - Devon Air Ambulance". Salcombe Festival. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
  12. ^ "Knowing Us - Crew". Devon Air Ambulance Trust. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
  13. ^ "Air Ambulance Services". South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Retrieved 15 April 2009.

External links[edit]